Karachi is one of the oldest cities in the sub-continent. Due to its historical background it contains a lot of places worth visiting. Karachi is located in Sindh, the oldest province of the Sub-Continent. Sindh has witnessed a number of wars as well as rule of every Empire. British came and spent a good amount of time in the sub-continent. They have constructed libraries and palaces in Karachi. All of these infrastructures have become a place of attraction for both the tourists as well as locals. In addition to this, Karachi is a place of wide culture. One will find amazing Historical places to visit in Karachi.
Colorful Karchi have two sides. One is in which there are people from under developed areas. The other is the one in which people are highly inclined towards showbiz and film industry. Karachi has recently become the central hub of Pakistan’s film and drama industry. People who want to pursue their career in showbiz come in Karachi to fulfill their dreams. It is definitely the city of dreams and it is one of those cities in Pakistan that never sleeps. There are late night clubs and parties going on night time.
If you are finding a place to visit in Karachi, no matter you are a local or a foreigner, you have come to the right place. You will find a number of exciting places to visit or to explore in Pakistan. These places are either built during the reign of British Empire or during the Mughal reign. A lot of Hindu Rajas have also invested a lot in Sindh and constructed a number of temples and building.
#1 of 5 Historical places to visit in Karachi, Pakistan – Historical Empress Market in Saddar – British era
The British era was full drama and climax. They, on one hand have built a number of great monuments and buildings for the sub-continent, while on the other hand ruled on the land of Hindus and Muslims. When the Muslims demanded from the British Empire that that wanted freedom and want the British rulers to leave the sub-continent, they hesitated at first. However, due to the high agitation between the people and the government they found it necessary to leave the sub-continent for the betterment of both sides.
There is no doubt in the fact that during their reign in the sub-continent for like a good hundred years, they have done a lot for this land. They have built educational institutes, museums, monuments, churches, historical palaces, universities, colleges, as well as huge market areas. The Historical Empress Market in Karachi is the living example of British rule. This Empress Market is located in the center of the Karachi city. It is a common fact that Karachi never sleeps, this specific area particularly never cease to work even for a single second. This area is a hub of a number of cheap shops in the big and expensive city.
Brief history about the market
This architectural masterpiece is 120 feet tall. The rising tower almost hit the sky. James Ferguson, laid the foundation stone of the Empress market in 1886. However, the story behind the construction is very interesting. In 1857, when the Sepoy mutiny against British was started by Indians, this monument was constructed as the symbol of British rule. According to historians, the place was believed to be the barren ground with no signs of life near. With time, when British have developed strong communications within India and started to widespread even deeply in Sindh, then people had started developing civilizations there. In this way, with time traders started to grow their business in the market and within a time span of just a few years the place became over crowded with people.
#2 of 5 Historical places to visit in Karachi, Pakistan – Mohatta Palace
The history of Mohatta palace is yet another interesting story. Like Shah Jahan constructed Taj Mahal in the memory of his late wife Mumtaz, Mr. Shivratan Chandraratan Mohatta also built the palace for his wife. However, the only difference was that he constructed the palace in order to heal his wife. This stupendous infrastructure is yet another example of love and affection. Before jumping on the infrastructure and all other stuff, let’s just dig into the history of the palace first.
Usman Damohi, a well-known Karachi historian, writes in his book Karachi Taareekh Kay Aaeenay Main:
“In 1927, Shivratan Mohatta, a successful Marwari entrepreneur, commissioned a palatial house in the affluent seaside neighbourhood of Clifton. The architect commissioned for the assignment was Ahmed Hussein Agha, one of the first Muslim architects of India. He came from Jaipur to take up the assignment.
“Working in a Mughal revival style with a combination of locally available yellow Gizri stone and pink stone from Jodhpur, he sought to recreate the Anglo-Mughal palaces of the Rajput princes.”
Mohatta Palace was constructed in the center of Clifton area. At that time Clifton was considered as the most expensive place. Very few people who afforded to have expensive property built and bought their lands over there. Mr. Mohatta was a successful Rajput Raja and a business person and Marwari entrepreneur. Due to this, he was able to bought the land and made a fort for his wife.
The Rajput prince loved his wife deeply and it is being said that his wife got seriously ill and the doctors told Mohatta that a place near the sea and its cold breeze would relax her. Mr. Mohatta bought the place in Clifton and constructed the Palace for his wife. The palace has two minarets and two domes. Standing at the upper roof of the palace one can witness the eye catching view of the sea. The palace is basically a double-storey building. It covers an area of 18,000 square feet.
The rooms on the first floor are luxurious and splendid. The rooms at the second floor are also architectured beautifully. It is hard to take away the eyes from the beautifully constructed rooms and corridors.
On the rooftop is a magnificent structure with a central dome. Small central domes surround the central dome which gives a mesmerizing look. This provides the shadow and basically protect the inhabitants from the severe heat of direct sunlight. Moreover, in addition to the central structure, the building has four other minaret-domes on its corners.
At the time of partition, Sindh was declared to be the part of Pakistan. Mohatta Palace as was the property of the entrepreneur and he had to hand over the keys to the new Pakistan government. He became dishearten of the fact that his land will no longer be his. As everyone was leaving their properties behind for a better future, so Mohatta also handed over the keys of his palace to his manager and told him to give them to the government. After that he never even placed his foot in Pakistan.
At the time of allotment, the palace was allotted to the sister of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Miss Fatima Jinnah. Fatima Jinnah lived in the palace till her death. After her death, the palace was awarded to her younger sister Shirin Jinnah. The palace was given to Miss Fatima Jinnah as replacement of her Bombay residency. After Miss Shirin Jinnah’s death in 1980, the palace became disputed among the relatives of Mr. Mohatta and Pakistan government. However, it was Miss Shirin’s wish that the place must be made a Medical college for women. Both Miss Shirin’s wish and Mohatta’s relatives claims were in vain and the court ordered to seal the building. The palace was yet bought by Benazir Bhutto in 1995 and after that autonomous trustees have been taking care of the palace.
#3 of 5 Historical places to visit in Karachi, Pakistan – The Clifton Beach
Beaches have always been the sightseeing of any country. Pakistan does not have a number of beaches, but the only one it has, contains a lot of history inside it. Clifton Beach is located in such Posh area that was considered to be the land of only rich people. Alongside its shore the land was once owned by the top level entrepreneurs or businessman. However, with time and after partition the land has become more of a sightseeing for locals and tourists. Due to lack of attention by the government, the beach is losing is natural beauty.
The sea carries a lot of historical memories inside it. However, much of these memories are still hidden inside the sea. Clifton, the busy area is the most renowned place in Karachi. The area of Saddar surrounds Clifton. The famous Mohatta palace is also located in this area. In the 20th century, the Clifton beach was among silver sand beaches in the world. Clifton beach is losing all its natural beauty due to pollution acts by the society. People who visit the beach through plastic bags in the sea that is causing damage to marine life. Not only this, in 2003 there was an oil ship from which the oil exploded and went into the sea water. It took days to clean the sea and a lot of marine life were dead.
Now, if you are an adventurer and a history lover then I will suggest you to go to Clifton beach once in your life time. You will see Mohatta palace behind the sea. The huge Saddar market and its hustle bustle can be vividly seen from the sea. Moreover, the sea is a place of contentment and refreshment. The best timings to visit the sea is before and after sunset. At this time the Sun meets the horizon and the view is worth watching. Furthermore, a few kilometers from Clifton, there is a spot of Hawk’s Bay. beach. Hawk’s Bay beach is named after its owner, ‘Bladen Wilmer Hawke.’ There are camel and horse rides for the visitors. A lot of swimmers and surfers also come to the beach for enjoyment.
#4 of 5 Historical places to visit in Karachi, Pakistan – Chaukhandi Tombs
If you are sucker for visiting the historical places then sub-continent is the ideal place to visit. It contains the history a number of rulers, people as well as Sufis. Sub-continent has been ruled by Hindus, Muslims, Christians and a number of other Empires. Some are well-known in the history however some are not. Chaukhandi Tombs in Karachi is one such historical place. The place has become the part of UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cemetery is basically an Islamic one which contains the graves and tombs of a number of elderly Muslim scholars.
Structure and a little bit of history
The cemetery is located 29 km east of Karachi. This necropolises contains the graves of people of 15th to 18th centuries. The cravings on the graves shows the typical Sindhi culture. This graveyard shows that the history of Sindh is very old. The graves have been built distinctively than the modern day Muslim graveyards. When the Sun starts rising at the time of dawn, the graves give the chilling view. Most of the graves are of those people who have lineage of famous historical backgrounds. If you are an archaeologist or curious to visit strange places then you must pay a visit to this site. However, I must warn you that Chaukhandi Tombs are famous for its haunting sites. It is therefore advised to go only in the hours of bright day light.
#5 of 5 Historical places to visit in Karachi, Pakistan – Pakistan Maritime Museum
Karachi is the Hub of Naval Base and Pakistan Naval academy. Due to this reason, Karachi have a lot of museums that are primarily Naval or Army based. The famous Pakistan Maritime Museum is a naval museum and park. This park is situated near PNS Karsaz on Habib Ebrahim Rehmatoola Road in Karachi, Pakistan. The main museum building is located inside the park of 28 acres. Built on such a huge area, it mainly gets a lot of attention from the visitors as well as tourists. It comprises of six galleries and an auditorium.
The above mentioned five spots and places usually depicts the historical background of Karachi. If you are interested to visit the Historical places in Karachi then you must pay a visit to all these places. However, if you are not an history lover and like to see some other places in Pakistan, then you must go through the following articles.